Abiotic prove here that they have the chops to take that pivotal step out of the shadow of their forbears into a sound that is less generic and more iconic.
It is safe to assert that metal moves in cycles. Every now and then a band comes along armed with enough innovation to make their alumni sound painfully stagnant.
Unlike pop music however, where a ‘new’ sound is chewed up and spat out relatively quickly, the metal scene contains within it sufficient love for that which has gone before to ensure a healthy fan following for a specific sound, years after it has moved out of vogue.
The true nature of underground music is that people adore it enough to keep it alive. This is why there are healthy amounts of doom, death, thrash, glam bands etc. continually touring and adding to the canon years after the focus has drifted from that particular sound.
Floridian technical death metallers Abiotic find themselves in an odd position of retro futurism on new album ‘Symbiosis,’ containing within its 41 minutes a forward thinking perspective on aural battery with enough nods to the history of the genre to give death metal diehards a knowing smile whilst listening.
Modern death metal bands have to put the work in to avoid the stigmatism attached to the deathcore scene, most bands within which seemingly involved in a brutality arms race that forgets the importance of song writing. Whilst Abiotic have not entirely avoided this also ran status, they showcase enough dexterity on ‘A universal plague’ between its blasts and crunching breaks to make the rest of the record an enticing prospect. Traditional death metal grunts combine with icy, alien screams that owe much to Metal Blade brethren The Black Dahlia Murder’s eviscerating vocalist Trevor Strnad.
As ‘To Burgeon and Languish’ begats ‘Hegira’ begats ‘Conquest of Gliese’ the band serve up ever dizzying spirals of atonal solos and bass runs that would make Necrophagist proud. As with so many other of the new guard, their influences are worn very much on their sleeve, Meshuggah yet again proving that they may be the most influential band of the last 15 years, alongside plenty of nods to the galactic perspectives of Cynic and the man himself, Chuck Schuldiner.
It is on ‘Exitus’ and its follower ‘Facades’ that Abiotic combine these disparate influences into something truly incendiary, and as closer ‘The Graze of Locusts’ transitions from break neck thrash to some seriously low-end crunch, Abiotic leave having made their point.
This is yet another record, along with bands such as The Faceless and Veil of Maya that goes to show that technical death metal has a legion of followers vying to be at the forefront of the pack, eager to carry the genre forward into the future. What needs to happen is that the legendary influences worn so proudly on their sleeves need to cease sounding so obvious.
Abiotic prove here that they have the chops to take that pivotal step out of the shadow of their forbears into a sound that is less generic and more iconic, but only time and another record will tell.